August 15, 2023 -- The One Safe Houston initiative continues to have a positive impact on crime, with reductions throughout the City of Houston. At the same time, Houston Police Department response times outpace most major city police departments.
As of July 31st, compared to this time last year, the Houston Police Department’s crime statistics, as reported to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), show violent crime in the City of Houston is down 8.5 percent, non-violent crime is down 2.1 percent and overall crime is down 3.4 percent.
The reductions are a direct result of Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston City Council, and the dedication and hard work of the Houston Police officers, and HPD’s commitment to public safety and maintaining the quality of life for all Houstonians. One Safe Houston, launched by Mayor Turner in February 2022, is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. It is a holistic approach to improve the quality of life in the City of Houston. HPD was able to increase officers on the street for increased visibility, address specific crime trends, and focus on high crime areas. HPD increased officers on the street for increased visibility, addressed specific crime trends, and focused on high-crime areas.
HPD also used One Safe Houston funding to target mental health and domestic violence by providing increased resources for HPD’s Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams (MCOT) and Domestic Abuse Response Teams (DART).
In mid-May, at Mayor Turner’s directive, and through the leadership of Chief Troy Finner and the entire command staff, using crime prevention through environmental design, HPD developed and implemented a plan to reduce human trafficking and crime along an approximately one-mile segment on Bissonnet Street by decreasing foot and vehicular traffic. Working with our partners at Houston Public Works, barricades and no U-turn signage were placed in certain areas. This initiative by our Westside Patrol, Traffic Enforcement and Vice Divisions significantly reduced criminal activity along Bissonnet Street.
Since the beginning of Mayor Turner’s administration in January 2016, a total of 2,250 cadets have graduated from the HPD academy. In 2023, HPD celebrated the graduation of three cadet classes, welcoming 165 new officers to the streets of Houston, with an additional 66 cadets expected to graduate this October. Under Mayor Turner’s leadership, we have added more police officers than any other administration in the history of HPD, other than Mayor Kathy Whitmire, who served ten years (two more than Mayor Turner). These additional officers assist our efforts in fighting crime, engaging the community, and responding to calls for service.
As we continue to see positive trends, we still understand more work must be done. Our main goals, to prevent crime and to continue to build strong community relationships, continue to drive us every day.
The Houston Police Department places an emphasis on responding to requests for service from the public. Priority one calls require an urgent response because there is a reason to believe an immediate threat to life exists. The average priority one response time in the City of Houston is 6.04 minutes.
Our priority one response time among the five largest cities nationally is one of the best.
Compared to other major cities in the State of Texas, the Houston Police Department has the lowest response time.
In the last eight years, the city, including police, has operated through natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey and Winter Storm Uri. Additionally, the city has faced the global Covid-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests, and pension reform, where 39 percent of the police force was eligible to retire on January 1, 2017.
Despite these challenges, HPD has lowered violent crime by 8.5 percent, and our response times, while not where we want, are better than most cities, and we are striving to do better.